MEXICO CITY, May 9 (GCCurrentAffairs) Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro signed a decree either reducing in rank or expelling dozens of officers, including high-ranking ones, from the country’s armed forces due to their involvement in a recent coup attempt, local media reported.
According to Gaceta Oficial cited by local radio, these measures affected the former head of the Bolivarian intelligence service SEBIN, Gen. Manuel Figuera, five lieutenant colonels, four majors, four captains, six lieutenants and 35 sergeants.
Lt Col Ilich Sanchez of the Venezuelan National Guard, who in recent months led the security services of the opposition-controlled National Assembly, is among those expelled.
Large-scale protests against Maduro began in Venezuela on January 21 soon after he was sworn in for a new term. Guaido proclaimed himself an interim leader of the country. A number of Western countries, including the United States, backed his claim. Maduro, in turn, has accused the United States of trying to orchestrate a coup in order to install Guaido as its puppet. Russia, China, and a number of other countries have voiced their support for Maduro as the only legitimate president of Venezuela.
On April 30, Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido urged Venezuelan civilians and servicemen to take to the streets to help depose President Nicolas Maduro. In response, Maduro said that the commanders of all regions and zones of integral defense had reiterated their full loyalty to the people, constitution and homeland.
The coup attempt turned violent and resulted in some 240 people being injured, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.